HomeAway Hobbies: Sewing

HomeAway Senior Software Tester Juliette Kimes is a seamstress and a sewing instructor in her spare time. She reveals how she became interested in sewing at a young age and how a recent design was selected by Threads Magazine as the winner of their annual sewing challenge in the "Best Suited for Travel" category. 

How long have you been working as a professional seamstress? I started sewing professionally for college friends - not because I wanted to, but because they begged me, and it helped paid for Top Ramen! :)

Juliette struts her stuff on the runway wearing a suit she designed in the 2010 Threads Magazine Challenge.

Juliette struts her stuff on the runway wearing a suit she designed in the 2010 Threads Magazine Challenge.

Why have you chosen to be a seamstress in addition to your work as a software tester for HomeAway? I really like the process of sewing and often get lost in a project, so it is a form of meditation. I also find sewing regularly gives me a different perspective on problem-solving and helps me come up with more innovative ideas when testing software.

What initially attracted you to sewing? I grew up in a sewing family: my mom started sewing when she was young; her mother was a formally trained tailor; my great-grandmother was a dressmaker; and one of her aunts was a corset maker. I guess you could say it is in my blood. I remember using a needle and thread around 4 or 5 years old and I started sewing on a machine around age 7.

What are some of the pieces you’ve been proudest of creating over the course of your career? I've done quite a few wedding gowns, from custom designs to what I refer to as "extreme redesigns." For both types of projects, the best part was working with a bride who couldn't find anything that fit or that was their style, and have them leave my studio with their perfect dress.

Tell me about the award you won from Threads? What does winning this award mean to you? After years of thinking I'd never be good enough to be accepted as a member, I joined the Association of Sewing & Design Professionals in 2005. Threads Magazine sponsors a challenge every year for our membership. I've entered the challenge six times and have been chosen as a finalist three times. With the high caliber of design and sewing skills, just being a finalist is a big win. Having my suit chosen as a winner this year really shows how much my skills have improved, and I take it as a great honor considering the high quality of work of past winners.

To see Juliette's winning look, check out Threads Magazine's April/May 2015 issue.